This week I am going to take my Bible study over to the book of Matthew and take a look at the actual teachings of Jesus Christ, but before that, I have some thoughts to run through. I have started this Bible study in search of answers for myself. The first question is what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Then second question is, who is a true believer? And the last question is whom should a true believer spend time with?
Growing up I heard the Gospel message that I am a sinner, in need of a Savior, Jesus is the son of God, who never sinned, and died on the cross for my sins, and rose again to prove He indeed is/was God, and if I believe in Him I will be saved and go to heaven someday. This is similar to the message that my children now share when they share the Wordless book with children as taught by CEF. But I wonder if this message is lacking something. The reason I wonder this is, because the Bible is mostly made up of the old testament scriptures. The message of the Whole Bible does indeed point to a Messiah who saves us and brings us to a relationship with YHVH God. But my question is what does this relationship with God look like? What is the point of a Savior? Is it just so I don’t go to hell someday? Or is the Gospel more than this.
MY next question is about “true believers.” Who are the true believers? This question is on my mind because of some different things that have recently happened in my own life. As most people know I call myself a Torah Observant Christian. It isn’t a perfect description of who I am, but it is a close one. You can read more about that here on my blog under the Torah Talk button. Anyway, I like most believers am always growing and learning about my Lord and Savior. As my understanding of God changed I began desiring to walk out my relationship with him by living out the commands He gave His people. That is why I call myself Torah Observant. I try to the best of my ability to observe His Torah, that is, instructions. The crazy thing is I don’t agree 100% with anyone else I know about how exactly that looks. I can say I don’t even agree on every little detail of that walk with my own husband. So, how do I know what people are the true believers? What are the critical things one must believe and do to fit this category? Do they have to keep Sabbath on the seventh day? Do they need to wear tzit tzit (I hope not cuz I lose mine all the time)? Do they have to eat a Levitical diet? Do they need to know that Jesus Christ is the English version of the Hebrew name of our Savior, Yeshua Moshiach? I could go on and on.
Torah observant Christians say that we obey Him because we love Him, not because it saves us, Salvation is found in Jesus (Yeshua) alone. But I wonder if we truly believe this. So many of my Torah Observant friends are beginning to deny Yeshua as Messiah, and become Jews. I do not mean Jews as in their blood flows with the same DNA as King David. I mean they are converting to Judaism. This is exactly what Paul warned against.
So on one hand, I have friends who are shunning others for not walking in the Old Testament laws but believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and on the other hand, I have friends who are shunning people because they walk like a Jew and have forsaken the Messiah. What is the proper response to these people? Should I be friends with any of them? And then there is two other groups. You know them, the people who call themselves a Christian but nothing in their life at all even resembles a relationship with the God of the Bible and lastly the people who do not have a relationship with at all with Yeshua or His Father, the lost.
I know many, many Christians who love the LORD God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength but do not keep Sabbath and eat pork. I know many Torah Observant people who keep all the feasts, including Sabbath and eat a Biblically clean diet, but have no relationships with others, so can NOT and do NOT love others as Christ loves Us. I know some mean and judgemental people in both these groups. I myself, am not perfect, but desire to walk as my Savior walked. So, how oh how, am I suppose to decided what people I should devote my time and energy to on a regular bases?
This is my question, who are the true believers, and whom should they spend time with?
So, let’s see what our Lord and Savior, Yeshua Messiah taught on the mount to the people of His day.
Join me tomorrow as I open my Bible to Matthew chapter 5.
Until then let these words from Paul in Philippians 3 speak to you, shalom.
3 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.
2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the [a]false circumcision; 3 for we are the true [b]circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss [c]in view of the surpassing value of [d]knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, [e]for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and [f]the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;11 [g]in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on [h]so that I may lay hold of that [i]for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are [j]perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep [k]living by that same standard to which we have attained.
17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their[l]appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. 20 For our [m]citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform [n]the body of our humble state into conformity with [o]the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.